What are Fibroids?
Fibroids (also called leiomyomas) are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the uterus. Fibroids are common in pre-menopausal women, and most fibroids are small and do not cause any symptoms— in fact, some women may accidentally find out they have fibroids during an ultrasound or CT scan. However, women with larger fibroids may have symptoms of pelvic pain and pressure. Fibroids of any size can cause heavy periods that last longer than a week, as well as bleeding between periods.
Why are Fibroids Important?
Although most fibroids are non-cancerous, they can still cause difficult symptoms if they are significant in size. Many women begin to experience symptoms like cramping and long menstrual cycles without realizing there may be an underlying cause. For this reason, it’s important to speak with your gynecologist if you experience symptoms like pain during sex, lower back pain, urinary problems, or fertility concerns along with cramping and heavy bleeding.
How Can My Gynecologist Help?
If you are told that you have a fibroid, you do not necessarily need to have surgery to remove it or your uterus. Small fibroids that are not causing any symptoms of bleeding and pain can be monitored with periodic ultrasounds. There are medical treatments that can manage heavy, irregular bleeding related to fibroids. In many cases, women with small fibroids can still have uncomplicated pregnancies.
What If I Need Surgery?
A myomectomy (surgery to remove one or more fibroids) may be recommended in women with heavy periods and severe pelvic pain which is not controlled by medical treatment. This may be a good option for women who wish to become pregnant in the future, or do not want to have their uterus removed. A myomectomy may also be recommended before pregnancy if one or more fibroids are inside the uterine cavity, which may prevent a pregnancy from implanting, and increase the risk of miscarriage and/or preterm labor. Some women may choose to have their uterus removed (hysterectomy) if they have heavy periods and severe pelvic pain that does not get better with medical treatment.
Schedule an Appointment
Fibroids can be manageable with the help of your gynecologist and the right treatment options. To learn more from our expert team and discuss your symptoms, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can fibroids affect the bladder?
Women may experience pressure on the bladder due to fibroids. This can cause issues such as frequent urination.
Can fibroids be detected during a Pap smear?
Uterine fibroids are often detected during a routine pelvic exam, which usually includes a Pap smear.